Meet Pinstagram: The Out-of-Wedlock Baby of Pinterest and Instagram

At Tech Wire Asia, we don’t normally want to call attention to babies born out of wedlock. In the case of Pek Pongpaet and Brandon Lenardo, two visionary developers that created Pinstagram, we had to take a differing opinion.

Usually, when two buddies joke around, they just joke around. But these guys turned their joke into reality and is now bigger than anyone else would have imagined with Mashable, Forbes, and Wired building a profile. Perhaps it was started out in jest, but the so-called out-of-wedlock baby between Instagram and Pinterest has turned out to be the very interesting and extremely fun to use Pinstagram.

Pinstagram heightens our experiences by displaying the photos on our Instagram mobile app in a Pinterest format on the web browser. Users can also pin Instagram photos and share it with Pinterest followers, in addition to sharing via Facebook and Twitter. The Pinterest format of Instagram pictures is nothing short of incredible. If you haven’t tried it out yet, now is a good time to start. Pinstagram is just so cute and fun to use.

Here’s how my Pinstagram looks like:

I had an opportunity to interview Pek Pongpaet, a Thai entrepreneur based in California, to get more details on how Pinstagram started and developed into a web.

TWA: Explain how you came up with the concept of Pinstagram?

Pek: Brandon Leonardo and I came up with Pinstagram one Friday afternoon after talking about how it would be fun to combine two of the most popular sites right now: Pinterest and Instagram. After thinking about it a bit more, we thought it might actually be useful since Instagram itself doesn’t have much of a web presence.

Were you doing web/app development before Pinstagram?

Yes. Both of us have a web/app development background. Prior to Pinstagram, Brandon Leonardo was the first engineer at AngelList ( He’s also Director of Technology at Startup Bus. I used to be an associate researcher at Accenture Technology Labs and then the VP of Product at SpotOn. Brandon and I were working on our business Tapisto (, which does mobile websites for small business, when we developed Pinstagram.

How old were you when had your first startup? What inspired you?

I was around 24 when I had my first startup. I think I was fascinated by entrepreneurship. The idea of creating software products also appealed to me more than doing consulting which was I was doing at the time.

What was your first startup? How was it?

Pek:  The idea was to provide a website builder that small businesses could utilize to build their own websites. The inspiration came from doing small business web design work and seeing how many businesses needed our help. We could not possibly help them all but with a tool like that, we would be able to help many more businesses.

What were the main lessons would you like to share from your personal history?

Never stop learning.

Always be launching projects/products.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Back to Pinstagram. did you really create this on a weekend project?

The initial version that we launched was created over a weekend. Once I decided to do it on Friday, I worked on it that evening and had the design and a working prototype to show Brandon on Saturday. Once he saw it and decided to work on it he was able to get all the functionality done by Sunday. Although it was done we did not launch it right away but rather sat on it for several days. I did not think it was ready for people to use. However after thinking about it, we decided to just launch it and see what people thought. Since launch however, we’ve made several improvements and have since recruited an iOS developer who has built the iPad version.

Has the growth and adoption of Pinstagram surprised you at all?

Yes indeed. We did not think that we would have gotten the reception we are receiving. It’s been amazing. Pinstagram has been featured on Forbes, Wired, Mashable and even on television news.The reception of the iPad app has also been amazing. Within 12 hours of launching the iPad app we became the 12th Top Free App in the Photography category in the US. In 24 hours we were the 8th.

What’s next for your company?

We are continually thinking of ways to improve the Pinstagram product, both the web and the iPad app. We want as many users as possible to be able to enjoy the Pinstagram experience. We’re trying to gather all the feedback from our users to prioritize what we should be working on next.

You probably had your own fair share of ups and downs in your career. What were the main lessons you learnt that you would like to share to a budding young Thai or Asian developer?

For a successful product, it needs to have at least these things:

  1. The technology needs to work. It needs to function properly.
  2. Design is important. People care about about how things look and how easy it is to use.
  3. People have to know about your product. You need a way to market it.

It’s really wonderful to see Thai entrepeneurs succeeding at a global stage, and on behalf of TechWireAsia, we hope to see Pinstagram top the charts everywhere.

Check out Pinstagram app on iPad, and download it from iTunes here.